What do Temple Beth Shalom in Bigfork, MT, United Methodist Church of Pines in Minocqua, WI, and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro in Statesboro, GA have in common? All three congregations order Fair Trade products through Equal Exchange’s Interfaith Program. It’s no coincidence that a small Jewish temple in Bigfork, MT, population 1,515, uses the same fairly traded products as thousands of churches and synagogues across the United States. Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-operative that offers fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and snacks from farmers in 20 countries, created the Interfaith Program so that congregations could access fair trade products at wholesale prices and live their values through the business practices they support and the food they purchase.
As World Fair Trade Day is approaching on Saturday, May 14th, it’s a fitting time to reflect on the work that farmers, congregations, Equal Exchange, interfaith partners, hundreds of co-operative grocery stores, the schools that organize fair trade fundraisers, and other partners make possible together. The big question, of course, is how did it come to be that the three aforementioned congregations, along with over 11,000 other congregations from a variety of faith groups, are active participants in the Fair Trade movement? Read more →
This coming Shabbat, May 14/10 Iyar, is also being celebrated as World Fair Trade Day, with events happening in over 80 countries around the world. Fair Trade is an international movement in which trading partnerships are based on reciprocal benefits and mutual respect; prices are paid to producers that reflect the work they do; workers have the right to organize; national health, safety, and wage laws are enforced; and products are environmentally sustainable and conserve natural resources (definition by Fair Trade Resource Network).
This is a great opportunity to celebrate and honor the farmers and artisans who make products that we consume and use every day, and to join the larger Fair Trade community. Let’s make it a chag this year! Read more →
On Passover, we remember the Israelites’ liberation from slavery. Join Fair Trade Judaica and local congregations and Jewish organizations at two local events for an exploration of chocolate’s sweet and bitter sides, and learn how you can support fair conditions for the people who grow and harvest the cocoa you eat. Read more →